Judgement

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bush and putin

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue."

- George Bush, 6/1/01

Today

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to target Europe with missiles, including potentially nuclear weapons, in a dramatic escalation of his Cold War-style showdown with the United States.

Mr. Putin, in an interview at his country residence outside Moscow, said he considers U.S. plans to build an eastern European anti-missile site to shoot down Iranian missiles a provocation aimed at Russia.

Asked what he might do to retaliate, he said he would return Russia to the Cold War status where missiles were aimed at European targets.

"It is obvious that if part of the strategic nuclear potential of the United States is located in Europe, and according to our military experts will be threatening us, we will have to respond," he said.

"What kind of steps are we going to take in response? Of course, we are going to get new targets in Europe."

A lot of people, from regular citizens like myself to really smart foreign policy guys, never trusted Vladimir Putin. The guy was ex-KGB, propped up by gangsters and the like. And he became leader of the nation with the second biggest nuclear arsenal in the world. For too long the Bush administration has allowed Putin to have a free hand, to act without diplomatic repudiation and as he has essentially put any media voices opposed to him behind bars, we have essentially allowed a cold-war style dictator back into power in Russia.

And now he's getting worse.